Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 71.djvu/496

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
490
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

relics is a large swinging-post terminating in an elephant head, probably unique, which in a remote village was used up to relatively recent times for human sacrifices. The art objects are represented in great variety and are attractively exhibited, textiles, pottery, wood and metal work, musical instruments, drawings. One recalls especially the suite of pictured cotton curtains for which Madras has long been noted; also the beautiful repoussé work in precious metals (Fig. 6). The museum is distinctly one of the most successful in India. Its director is the zoologist. Dr. Edgar Thurston.

 

Calcutta

The museum of Calcutta is far and away the most imposing of Asiatic museums, representing, as it does, the government of India in the imperial capital. Its buildings, Fig. 7, are the most extensive and its collections the most important. In this region, moreover, it is the oldest, for it preserves the collections of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, founded in 1784.

The success of the museum, it may be remarked, has been due in no small degree to its tradition of selecting directors eminent both as scientists and as executives. It was to Mr. Bly. an early curator of the Asiatic society (1842 to 1862), a voluminous correspondent of Darwin, by the way, that the credit belongs for securing governmental assistance in erecting the museum's first building. His successor was John Anderson, who remained in charge until 1886. And his. in turn, was Dr. Wood Mason, 1886 to 1893. And from that time to the present, the director has been Major A. Alcock, widely known for his researches on the deep-sea fauna of the Bay of Bengal.

PSM V71 D496 India museum of kolkata.png

Fig. 7. Calcutta. The Indian Museum. Front view. From Chowringhee.